What‘s Happening at Walker

play poster

Walker Stage Left Theatre to present spring play

play posterWalker Stage Left Theatre students will present their final play of the year, Pirates! Theodore Thud and the Quest for Weird Beard, on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 6:30 p.m. in the Walker School auditorium.

Beginning in fifth grade, students at Walker and Buford can perform with the after-school club Stage Left Theater, which offers two free, family-friendly performances each year to packed crowds.  Recent plays include The Trial of Goldilocks, Peter PanThe Wizard of OzBeauty and the Beast, and more.

Under the direction of Rod and Kristina Durrer, the Walker Upper Elementary School and Buford Middle School programs were combined in 2014 to bring the fine art of theatre to 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in the Charlottesville City Schools.

Pirates! Theodore Thud and the Quest for Weird Beard tells the tale of a friendly game of pirates that becomes all too real when overzealous Theodore accidentally falls into a giant sinkhole and wakes up to find himself amongst real high sea swashbucklers. Before getting back to the real world, Theodore is forced on an epic journey with his companion Harriet the Ghost in a quest to find the notorious pirate Weird Beard and foil the mutinous Mr. Clunky Bones. Will Theodore be able to save Captain Cramp Hand’s ship from falling into evil clutches and return to his friends in time for ice cream?

graphic for Walker Electives Options 2019-20

More elective options for Walker students in 2019-20

After gathering feedback from student interest surveys, parent requests, and focus group input from previous years, Walker School is expanding its master schedule for 2019-20 to accommodate two elective choices for students in the 2019-20 school year.

While the current schedule limits students to one elective, this change allows them to choose two elective options; one of the electives must be a fine arts course option which includes band, orchestra, general music, or art. The second elective choice can be an additional fine arts course, Spanish, or a proposed Pre-Engineering class (level I for 5th graders and level II for 6th graders).  Sixth grade students will also be able select Spanish I for high school credit with honors option.

“We are keeping all of the offerings we currently have and will also offer a new Pre-Engineering elective approved by the School Board,” said Principal Adam Hastings. “This change allows us to capitalize on our division-wide areas of strength by continuing our tradition of excellence in fine arts and giving our students an option for a deeper experience in STEM education.”

graphic of flowchart showing Walker elective options for 2019-20

 

Walker students gathering on stage after delivering student government speeches.

Walker students form new student government

Walker students gathering on stage after delivering student government speeches.
A moment of celebration after students delivered campaign speeches during the Walker School student government elections.

A new student government which includes two representatives from each homeroom and an elected executive council is underway at Walker School.

“We’re so proud of them,” said Instructional Coach Erika Pierce. “After delivering campaign speeches, they have hit the ground running with so many ideas to make Walker School a great place to be.”

The executive council is meeting weekly to brainstorm ideas, which include school-wide celebrations, improved recycling efforts, and talent shows.

Students test water runoff at Walker School.

UVAToday features Walker School efforts to test computer science program

Students test water runoff at Walker School.
Students experiment with water runoff solutions at Walker School.

Walker Upper Elementary School students participated in a pilot program with UVA Curry School of Education & Human Development that combines computer science and engineering to study how water runoff affects playgrounds.

During the 2017-18 school year, fifth and sixth grade students tested a series of 18 lessons created by a collaborative team of UVA faculty, researchers and Walker teachers.  Students had to use a variety of computer models and experiments to solve water runoff problems for pretend playgrounds they designed, as well as Walker School’s real playground.

According to a March 29, 2019 article posted online by UVAToday, UVA is working with teams from Vanderbilt and SRI International to develop this curriculum as a way to meet growing state and national standards of learning that require integrating more computer science into classrooms.

Read more here:

Breen, Audrey. “Local Students Pilot New UVA Curriculum Combining Computers, Rain and Playgrounds.” UVAToday, 29 Mar. 2019, news.virginia.edu/content/local-students-pilot-new-uva-curriculum-combining-computers-rain-and-playgrounds.

Printer Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. shows CHS students how to make a letterpress print

Fine arts flourish at Cville Schools

The fine arts program at Charlottesville City Schools infuses our schools with enrichment and experiences that encourage artistic expression at all grade levels.  Here are just a few of the recent arts-related events and accomplishments we are celebrating.

All-Virginia Choir, Band, Orchestra participants 2019Congratulations to our musicians who represented Charlottesville High School in the 2019 All-Virginia Choir, Bands, and Orchestra at the Richmond Marriott and Convention Center; culminating performances were held at the Carpenter Center. Pictured left to right, top row: Adria Cafferillo, Choir; Reid Dodson, Symphonic Band, Parker Nelson, Choir, Margaret Ann Doran, Choir, and Anna Bon-Harper, Symphonic Band. Seated: Sarah Garretson, Orchestra.

CHS theater students at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, home to the Broadway play "Hamilton."
CHS theater students at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City, home to the Broadway play “Hamilton.”

TheatreCHS students just returned from New York City where they participated in the Broadway Theatre Group Hamilton Summit. Students enjoyed two days of acting, dance, and vocal workshops with cast members from “Hamilton.” They will also visit the Upward Citizens Brigade Improv Club and saw  “Hamilton” on Broadway in the Richard Rogers Theatre. Click here for news coverage of their trip.

Portrait by ninth grade CHS student Emily Morris.
Portrait by ninth-grade CHS student Emily Morris featured in the 2019 ArtConnections exhibit.

The annual division-wide ArtConnections exhibit featured student art from across the division. Two evening open houses which included performances by the Walker and Buford School jazz bands gave the public an opportunity to celebrate the many talents of our kindergarten through 12th grade artists. A Saturday celebration attracted more than 600 visitors and featured hands-on art activities including letterpress printmaking with visiting artist Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr.

Printer Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. shows CHS students how to make a letterpress print
Printer Amos Kennedy shows CHS art students how to make a letterpress print.

Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. also conducted several letterpress workshops at our schools and other places in the Charlottesville-area as part of his “Finding Wisdom” residency with Virginia Humanities’ Virginia Center of the Book. Charlottesville High School art students got to make their own prints using their own words of wisdom.

Congratulations to the following CHS musicians who earned selection by competitive audition for the 2019 All-Virginia Orchestra and Band: Senior Sarah Garretson placed third chair cello in the All-Virginia Orchestra while junior flutist Reid Dodson and senior horn player Anna Bon-Harper were selected for All-Virginia Band.

The CHS Orchestra continues its tradition of excellence, recently earning top honors at the 2019 District Orchestra Assessments. The String Ensemble earned all “Superior” ratings and straight A’s in all 28 subcategories for their performance and sight reading at grade 6, the most difficult level of music.   The top CHSO has earned a superior rating at every District Assessment performance at grade 6 since 1984. Here is a sample:

Meanwhile, the CHS Concert Orchestra earned all “Superior” ratings and nearly straight A’s in all subcategories for their stage performance at grade 5 and also earned “Excellent” for sight reading.

CHS Knightengales choir dance troupe group photo
The CHS Knightengales

The Knightengales, Charlottesville High School’s all female ensemble, earned all Superior ratings at the District 13 Concert Assessment. Congratulations to (pictured left to right) Lolly Lynch, Anne Boura, Al-Nisa Utz, Casey Casarez, Emily Webber, Emma Harrison, Renee Lyons, Kyla Rose, Bobbie Jo Fassler, Eliza Smith, Sylvie Bowman, Courtney Snapp, Ceci Becker, Parker Nelson, and Esmerelda Lopez. The troupe recently performed with other Charlottesville-area women’s ensembles in a concert benefitting The Shelter for Help in Emergency.

CHS All-Virginia Choir students 2019
CHS 2019 All-Virginia Choir students

Congratulations to the following CHS choir students who earned positions in this year’s All-Virginia Choir to be held in Richmond in April:  (pictured left to right) Adria Cafferillo, Margaret Anne Doran, Parker Nelson, Eoin Sprinkle, Sarah Garretson, and Javier Fortune.

Meanwhile, the Buford Middle School Symphonic Band was one of three middle schools in our district to receive unanimous Superior ratings at District 13 Concert Band assessments. The band is now preparing to travel for their spring trip to the MUSICALE Festival in Williamsburg, Virginia in April.

 

Other Notable News

Buford students visit local courthouse.
Buford eighth grade students visit Charlottesville District Court.

Buford Middle School 8th grade Civics and Economics classes visited Charlottesville District Court where they got to see what they are learning about in the classroom in real-time action. Thanks to Judge Downer, the court clerks, members of the Sheriff’s department, and the Commonwealth’s Attorneys for giving our students this valuable educational opportunity.

The CHS Black Knight Debate team hosted the VHSL Regional Debate Tournament which included schools from Blacksburg, Danville, Bedford County, Salem, and Sherando. CHS won first place in the Sweepstakes, and the following students will advance to Super-Regionals in April: LINCOLN-DOUGLAS- Dani Szabo (1st), Ellie Detert (4th), and Alex Ralston (5th ); PUBLIC FORUM – Lena Keesecker & Talia Sherman (3rd) and John Emery & Maisie Fischman (4th).

Walker Debate Team group photo
Walker School first-year debate team

Walker students in Mrs. Scheiber’s 6th grade Language Arts classes participated in the  Charlottesville League Debate competition at Jack Jouett Middle School.  They had to debate the topic, “The benefits of zoos outweighs the harms.”  Congratulations to this group of first-year debaters which includes the following teams: Olivia Wade and Cyrus Wyatt, Zoe Kershner and Sela Knight, Evan English and Robert Scott, Naia Downs-Reeve and Maya Butler, and Elle Polifka and Ellery Long.  All teams won at least one out of three rounds of competition and special recognition goes to team Cyrus and Olivia for winning two rounds, and to Sela, Cyrus, and Olivia for receiving outstanding speaker points.

American Legion representatives present Walker student with award.
Mohammad Haidari receives award for winning first place in the American Legion Post 74 writing contest.

Congratulations to the following CHS students for being selected as winners of the Tupelo Press Mirabella Poetry & Prose teen writing contest. These students were invited to read their works at the area awards ceremony held at St. Anne’s-Belfield School: “pale-lunged” by Rachel Beling, “Al Hudaydah” by Kiran Klubock-Shukla, “A First Goodbye” by Cassie Hersman, and “The Radioactive Ghost of Kilkenny” by James O’Brien.  Their writings will be included in an annual anthology of teen writing which will also include “The Evil Lake” by Lily Deleo, “Hope” by Mathew Farina, “A Father” by Ari Pyle, “Warmth” by Robin Guziejka, “Our Soldiers” by Colin Saint,  and “Our Sweet Sensations” by Nyah Catherine-Lim.

Sixth grade Walker student Mohammad Haidari won first place in District 13 in the American Legion Post 74 writing contest. He received a certificate and check for his essay, “I Like Living in America Because…” and moved on to the regional competition.

Using a generous PTO grant that funded 20 point-and-shoot digital cameras, students in Rachel Wilson’s photography classes at CHS visited Clark and Johnson Schools to teach elementary kids the basics of digital photography.

Photo collage of CHS students teaching Clark students about photography.

 

ad for Stage Left Theatre play "The Trial of Goldilocks"

Walker Stage Left Theatre presents “The Trial of Goldilocks”

ad for Stage Left Theatre play "The Trial of Goldilocks"Walker Stage Left Theatre students presented their latest play, “The Trial of Goldilocks,” on Friday, January 18, 2019 in the Walker School auditorium.

Beginning in fifth grade, students at Walker and Buford can perform with the after-school club Stage Left Theater, which offers two free, family-friendly performances each year to packed crowds.  Recent plays include Peter PanThe Wizard of OzBeauty and the Beast, and more.

Under the direction of Rod and Kristina Durrer, the Walker Upper Elementary School and Buford Middle School programs were combined in 2014 to bring the fine art of theatre to 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders in the Charlottesville City Schools.

Students brainstorming with teacher during participatory budgeting exercise.

Participatory Budgeting program concludes with $6,000 award

Students raising hands during participatory budgeting discussionTo conclude a semester-long participatory budgeting project, sixth grade students at Walker Upper Elementary School  hosted a showcase Wednesday, January 16, 2019 . to present a variety of student proposals for school improvements.

Visitors, along with students and school staff, voted for their favorite project, and the winning proposal was awarded a $6000 donation to help fund the project by the CFA Institute.

A proposal to organize student basketball and soccer tournaments and award prizes received the most votes. See the proposal here:

Basketball and Soccer Tournaments Proposal

“CFA Institute is excited to support the Participatory Budgeting Project to help students discover how finance can transform lives and communities” said Kelli E. Palmer, director of corporate citizenship for CFA Institute.

Participatory budgeting, a process that has gained national and local attention, engages members of a community to deliberate and make decisions on how to use resources. The entire sixth-grade class began this project in the fall with the prompt, “How might we improve the school experience at Walker?”

Students discussiong participatory budgeting ideas during brainstorming session.“What I love most about this project is that it is an activity that includes everyone,” said Principal Adam Hastings. “Oftentimes, special projects such as this are only accessible to a handful of students, but in this case, we wanted every student to have a voice.”

Serena Gruia, Walker School parent and founder of Creative Might design studio, developed the Participatory Budgeting Program (#PBatWalker) and, along with social studies teachers and volunteers, led students through a series of collaborative efforts using the framework, “Discover, Dream, Decide, Design, Do.”

“The intention behind this project is to build community, demonstrate the need for and power of student agency, and create a space for students to make a valuable impact on their environment,” said Gruia.

Proposed school improvements included a school garden, upgraded bathrooms, and offering athletic tournaments. To see student-produced videos of all 15 proposals and learn more about #PBatWalker,  visit www.PBatWalker.com.

RELATED LINKS

RELATED NEWS COVERAGE

Walker, Clark students “kid-test” UVA Engineers’ designs

UVA student engineers test designs with Walker 5th grade students.UVA Engineering first-year students from Professor Gregory C. Lewin’s engineering courses  recently visited Walker Upper Elementary School for a full day of design tests with fifth-grade students.

The designs were interactive educational activities that align with Virginia Standards of Learning for science, technology, engineering, and math. The activities covered topics like food webs/energy transfer in ecosystems, the seasons and phases of the moon, the solar system, potential and kinetic energy, the symbiosis between bees and flowers, and trophic layers in the oceans. See photo gallery here.

Meanwhile, kindergarteners and fourth graders from Clark Elementary visited the engineering design lab in UVA’s Rice Hall to put other designs to the test.

UVA Engineering Professor Reid Bailey tasked his students with designing STEM-related educational games and devices for young children. The designs ranged from a marble railway counting game to a JENGA-like game to learn fractions. One of the crowd favorites was a cornhole-like game based on the popular game “Minecraft” where participants earned cannonballs (black hacky sacks) to knock down castles by answering math questions.  See photo gallery here.

Related links: